Saturday, March 30, 2013

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid

Or in my case...don't eat the pizza.

"It's just one piece.", she said.
"You have the calories left for the day.", she said.

I shouldn't have succumbed to peer pressure.
But, it smelled sooo good!

I have been really careful about what I eat for the last several months. I mean, I've always tried to be careful, but I have really stuck to a high protein/healthy fats/good carbs intake (I hate the word "diet"), 5-6 times a day, since the beginning of December. My body is not used to fatty, greasy foods anymore.


Because down went the pizza...and...well...up came the pizza.

I don't think this means that I will never again enjoy a piece of pizza.
However, I do know that it will not be any time soon!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Self-Reliance #5

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
To be an artist one has to find beauty in ordinary things.
Find 10 things of great beauty in the landscape that surrounds you.
For example, crumple sheets on your bed in the morning,
the smell of coffee making its way around a busy office.
1. The smattering of freckles across a child's nose.
2. The smell of sunscreen on a sunny day.
3. The feel of clean bed sheets.
4. The taste of the summer's first good watermelon.
5. The sound of ocean waves lapping in.
6. The weight of a limp, sleeping toddler, in your arms.
Such trust.

7. The control of my breath, during meditation.
8. The feeling of sweat dripping down my back after a run. 
9. Laughing, until you cry.
10. Clocking out on a Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Drawing Lines

For two days, these symbols have been all over Facebook. I've watched friendships collide and families divide, over what is Yes, truly this is over rights and who "deserves" them...but it is fueled by love.
There is no gray area and no walking the fence, as far as I'm concerned, on this matter. You either feel one way, or the other. Either side can argue until they are blue in the face and what seems like common sense to one side, will never resonate with those with inverse ideas.

I'm not here to convince anyone of anything. I'm secure in my beliefs and my choices, as I assume most people are. I truly have a very curious mind, that others may deem contentious, however I assure you, this is not my intention. I know how most of my family and friends feel (partially due to those handy little signs that show which "side" they have planted themselves on) ;) and partially because I have had some amazing conversations with a few of them. Many of my friends feel the way I do...but many of them don't. Bless the ones that don't. The ones that, like I, can see past our differences in opinion, have an intelligent conversation on the matter and part ways. I respect them, in some ways more, than those whose beliefs align with mine.

Not that you asked...but here are my thoughts and you can love me or hate me for them:
( came to my blog...and you are still reading you "kind of" asked...)

- To those that do not agree with gay marriage: I cannot be convinced that "God's laws never change", because they have. Religion has changed and adapted, many times, over the last century. I'm not saying this to provoke contention, but I have always had unanswered questions. This argument or defense has always confused me.

- To those that do agree with gay marriage: It bothers me when I read "Well, he/she NEEDS to accept people for who they are." No one NEEDS to accept anyone else's choices, behaviors, lifestyles or pizza preferences (I like mine with pepperoni and onion, for what it is worth). SHOULD people approach others with respect and kindness? Absolutely. Do they NEED to? No. But that speaks volumes about who they are, not the person they are condemning. Besides...respect and acceptance are two different things.

- No one else's marriage has ever had an impact on my marriage. Ever. When I read that others hope that they can reduce the consequences that gay marriage would have on their family, it boggles my mind. When has your neighbor's marriage ever impacted yours? If it has, there are other issues at hand, my friend.

-I have a hard time with people that get frustrated with the fights and then say, "just let people live the way they want to live". THAT'S why there is fighting. THAT'S why people are upset. Some people CAN'T live the way they want to live. Who am I to deny someone the right to eat their own kind of pizza, in their own house, with their spouse? Again, I won't affect my marriage.

- The phrase "children deserve a mother and father", bugs me. That indicates that any child that doesn't have this exact, "perfect" mold of a family, is somehow lacking. Children deserve love. Is a loving mother and father perfection? Yes! :) So is a loving mother. Or a loving father. Or a loving mother and loving grandparents. Or two loving mothers. Or two loving fathers. Or a loving mother, loving step-father, loving father and loving step-mother. And a loving cat. The theme here is LOVE. Children need love. If they are raised with love, everything else will fall into place.

- It breaks my heart that anyone would be willing to lose their child over a matter such as this. I can't imagine writing off my own child! Knowing that people feel that their child would be better off dead, than gay, is heart wrenching. I've watched parents watch their child die...I promise you...they wouldn't care who that child would have grown up to love, if only they would have grown up.

So there it is. All the rambling thoughts that I have kept pent up for the last two days. (Well, maybe not all of them. I did also wonder when the man would take down the Christmas lights, because it is almost April and how many miles I have put on my running shoes. Buuuuut...I figured I would do you all a favor and sort my ramblings by relevance.) ;)

I almost posted this with a disclaimer, something along the lines of "I'm sorry for who this may offend...", but I'm not sorry. I mean, I didn't set out to offend anyone, but I'm aware that it may occur. I hope that you can still love and respect me, even if you don't accept my opinion. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Beat Her Today

Today, I set out to run 4 miles.

According to my "running plan" I should be running somewhere around 3 miles now. But, I ditched that plan last week. Who needs a running plan, right?

Me! Me! Me! Oh! Oh! Pick me!
*jumps up and down!*

Unfortunately, (or...maybe fortunately...) training buddy does not need a running plan and she basically ripped mine up and threw it away last week.

"Let's just go", she says.
"You can do this.", she says.
"You're insane.", I think to myself.

But, last week, when I should have been running 2 miles, I ran 3. And this week, when I should have been running 3 miles, did I run 4? No. No, I didn't. But, I'll get to that in a minute.

Running is getting easier for me. I no longer talk myself out of the run. (As much.) I no longer cramp up. (As much.) I no longer feel like I can't do this. (As much.) I no longer feel like I'm insane for attempting to train for a half marathon. (As much.)

I hit the "runner's high" quicker and it lasts much longer. It used to come in short bursts, only seconds long. I would be lucky to get two, during any given run. Now? Now I feel fantastic for a half mile to a mile at a time. During one of these times, around the two mile mark, is when I decided "Hey! If I do 4.5 miles, that will basically be 1/3 of my half marathon!" (Okay, a little more, but that's okay!)

So, that is how I ran my first ever 4.5 miles. :)

I ran it for all the times I couldn't run a lap around the track without getting completely winded. I ran it for all the times I left the gym crying because I was disappointed in myself. I ran it for all the times I left a dressing room in tears because I couldn't buy an outfit I wanted to. I ran it for all the times I watched a girl at the gym pound out a run, like it was nothing, and I so badly wished that it was me. I ran it for all the times I looked in the mirror and hated my reflection. I ran it for all the times I saw a picture of myself that I was ashamed of.

I ran it for ME. The old ME. The new ME. The ME, yet to be.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Cannot Contain My Excitement!

My kids don't read my blog...and by the time they do, this won't matter anymore. I LOVE my children more than life itself and they have put up with A LOT this past year. I have been far away...physically and mentally...a lot of the time, due to school.

I owe them Mommy time. EXTREME Mommy time. Extreme unplugged Mommy time. No work. No school. No Internet. No phones. No cooking. No laundry. No cleaning.

So, we are surprising them with a trip. On a plane. To somewhere that none of us have ever been before. For an entire week.

In two months, we will be using these:

To go here:

And we will be building these:

And we will be playing here:

And we will be sleeping here:

And we will be trying out snorkeling, so that we can hopefully swim with these guys and his friends:

I (somehow) have to make it through another three weeks of school and finals week. Then I can really start focusing on getting us ready. :) :) :) We have a few surprises planned for them while we are down there, too and I cannot wait to see their faces. I can't wait for any of it!!

So, shhh!!! They think our only family vacation is to Logan this summer, to watch me finish my half marathon.  Umm...nope. Mommy is about to knock your socks off!


It's going to be toes in the sand for seven fantastic days!! :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

In Search of "Normal"

Avery's journey began at birth...but when we finally reached out for help, over a year ago, we heavily weighed all of the pros and cons when the topic of medication came up. Every few months since then, as we've found that the trazadone wasn't working as effectively as we would like, we had decisions to make, again. Up the dosage, or push through? Every time, we have chosen to up the dosage, in the hope that we would hit the magical number that our growing girl needed, in order to find her "normal". 

Today, Avery's journey changed again. No longer will she be taking just a nighttime dosage of trazadone, but she will be starting a daily dose of sertraline (Zoloft). 

I know all the information. I know the black box warnings. I know the risks. I'm scared to death. 

I'm more scared, that if we don't do this, Avery will never find her "normal". I don't want to medicate my child. I don't want her to be dependent on medication to function. But I have to...and she is. I want this medication to open up Avery's world to a place that is full of love and not frustration. I want to be able to explain situations to her, instead of her not "hearing" me. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin, instead of feeling like no one understands.

I did an assignment in one of my classes last week that really hit home. I had to read a case study about a woman with bipolar, who stopped taking her medication. There is a lot more to the story, but as I read that, along with information in the chapter about adolescent bipolar symptoms, I cried. I could have been reading a print out about my own daughter. I'm terrified for the future. I'm scared of when I am no longer in charge of her medication distribution. I'm scared of what she would go through and not even be aware of it. 

All I can do, is hope that the foundation we are setting for her now, will be strong enough to hold her up in the future. As we continue on, in search of "normal", I just have to hope that Avery knows how much I love her, even when she can't "hear" me. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Melody of My Day is the melody of my day. It wakes me in the morning. It follows me throughout the house. It is around every corner and behind every door.

"She hit me!"
"I don't want to do chores!"
"I didn't do it!"
"I'm bored!"
"Put away my laundry?! *pathetic whine*"
"That's not my mess!"

It truly is miraculous that I am not an alcoholic.
Or on some form of a sedative.

I wonder what it would be like if I spent my days whining...

"You want me to pay the mortgage every month?!?"
"I don't want to learn about perfusion, hypoxemia and myocardial infarctions!"
"I'm never bored!"
"Why do you children require dinner every day?!"
"I don't want to drive you to school. I'm too tired!"
"That's not my mess!"

Okay...maybe we have that last one in common. But, truly, I can eat a yogurt without getting it all over the table and the floor and the wall and the cat. 



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life Begins... the end of your comfort zone.

I did it. It has been on my bucket list for years and I have toyed with the idea for years. Finally...I signed up. I committed myself. I set a goal and I'm going to see it through.

I am going to run a half marathon. August 24, 2013, at 7:00 am, in Logan, Utah...I am going to run a half marathon.

Ho.Ly. Crap.

I am scared. S.C.A.R.E.D. Can I run 13.1 miles now? Nope. Not even close. I'm training...and I've been training...but I'm definitely on the beginner course of this journey. I don't think even I have any idea what I've gotten myself in to. But...I am going to do it.

I am not a runner...even when I run. It does not come naturally to me. I can't get off the couch and pound out six miles, like it is no big deal. I have to fight and claw and sweat and drag myself through my runs. I have to push myself to the brink of my pain, to add every mile...half mile...quarter mile. It is hard for me and I am jealous of the people, like my husband, Mr. Marathon, who make it look so easy.

So, why do it? Why put myself into a situation that will take months and months of my time? Why force myself to do something I'm not comfortable with and that will hurt?

Because I can. Because I want to prove to myself that I can do the impossible. Is 13.1 miles impossible? Well...not for everyone...but for feels like it. I don't know how I will get there...from here...but I know that I will. The journey is foreign, but the destination is crossing the finish line, knowing that I pushed myself to new limits.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It Breaks My Heart

My heart is breaking.

I am her mother. I am supposed to know how to fix things that are broken and make every day amazing. I am supposed to know the right things to say and to react to things appropriately, every single time. I am supposed to know what the hell I am doing.

I don't.

Not with Avers, anyway.

Some days are so good! She is happy and helpful. She will hug me and tell me she loves me. She will play nicely with her siblings. I breathe a sigh of relief on these days. I hope and I pray that what we are doing is working and she is changing. I am hopeful that all of her struggles are behind us and now we can all move on.

Then days like today...and yesterday...and the day before...and every day since last Friday happen. Her moods spiral down and I am slapped in the face, once again, with the realization that she isn't okay and most likely won't be for a long time.

Yesterday was the worst day we have ever had. She woke up at 3:30 am and wanted to watch TV. Maybe some parents would allow this and if it had been a different kid and they just couldn't sleep...perhaps I would have allowed it, too. The thing with Avery is, she needs her sleep. Needs it. More than any other person on the planet. Her sleep cycles need to be consistent, or we know that it contributes to her mood.She takes a mild antidepressant to put her to sleep at the same time every night (otherwise she would not sleep until midnight..1...2...).

Anyway...I digress. She woke up at 3:30 am and when I would not allow her to watch TV (because I needed her to go back to sleep), she spent the next four hours until we left for school, screaming. And crying. And asking over and over and over to watch TV. There is no reasoning with her, when she gets like this. It is hard to explain to someone that has never seen it, but imagine trying to explain to an 18 month old the reasons why they cannot run into the street. That is what it is like trying to reason with Avery. Once she gets something in her head, she will not let it go and she cannot "hear" you, when you explain why that is not okay.

After a weekend of her not wanting to do anything and being argumentative, I was exhausted. This mood carried into last night and through to this morning. It took me 30 minutes to get her dressed, meanwhile the rest of my kids managed their chores and getting dressed, alone.

It breaks my heart.

Not only am I frustrated that I don't know what to do to handle Avers, but my other kids suffer through this. They have to deal with her screaming and her aggression, like the rest of us, but they also suffer with not having Mommy. I can't focus on them, because I'm so focused on her. I feel like they are abandoned to deal with themselves, while all my attention is on Avery. Yes, I still do their hair and I still feed them breakfast, but they know that they need to police themselves when it comes to everything else.

On the bright side, my kids have become extremely self sufficient...for the most part. They still use these days as an excuse to be lax on their chores and get away with a little more than they normally would...but overall, they step up. They get their homework and chores done with little direction and for that...I am thankful.

I have kept a behavior log for the last three months, for her psychiatrist. We wanted to see if there was a pattern to the moods or figure out a trigger. So far, the only trigger I can see, are days that end in "Y". I know she is having me keep this log because we are at a crossroads. Avery is at the higher end of the normal dosage range for the med she is on and we now have to decide, do we up that more, change her med completely, or keep her where she is and add a daytime med? I don't know what her psychiatrist is thinking about adding, but anything scares me. I hate the thought of "drugging" my child...but I hate my child feeling out of control and unhappy, more.

It just...breaks my heart.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Water Troubles

So, I drink a lot of water. A. Lot. Like, no less than 100 oz a day...usually around 125 oz. I have added fruit  and crystal light to it when I get bored.  I drink it ice cold. I drink it room temperature. I will make a game out of chugging it, just to get it down. Why do I drink so much water? Well, because it's good for you...but that isn't what this is about.

Yesterday, I tried this "energy" add in (think Crystal Light with a kick!). I have tried other flavors in the past, but this was the first time I tried the energy kind. I was headed to the gym and figured it couldn't hurt my run.

Boy, was I wrong.

I got about a mile in and all of a sudden, I felt like something was stuck in my throat. I hopped off the treadmill, coughing and chugged a bunch of water. (Plain add in this time) ;)

Nothing was helping. I was coughing and trying to clear my throat and coughing and coughing...nothing. Eventually I ended up in the bathroom, throwing up, hoping that would help. Nothing. I grabbed a rice cake out of my gym bag and shoved it in my mouth, hoping that it would scratch and irritate my throat, to make this feeling go away. Nothing. (Meanwhile, this entire time, I'm aware of the fact that I look insane and there are other people in the gym who I know, who were probably thinking I had lost my ever-loving mind.)

I tried throwing up again and then it hit. My throat was beginning to get super itchy, inside. I ran up to Bek and told her we needed to go. NOW. As she rushed me home, I called Josh, still coughing ridiculously, and told him to have Benadryl ready. I was pretty sure that I was having an allergic reaction to the drink add in. I eat basically the same things, day in and day out. I have for months. It is rare for me mix up my menu. I knew that the only new thing I had introduced into my system recently, had been that crappy energy mix-in...which did nothing for my energy level, anyway.

I took two Benadryl and went upstairs to shower. I figured that on the off chance that it wasn't this drink and I had come in contact with something, I wanted to wash it off of me as soon as possible. This entire time I feel like the back of my tongue is swelling up and my throat is itchy.I couldn't stop coughing and clearing my throat, in an attempt to make it go away. I paid very careful attention to my breathing, because if it became impaired at all, I knew I would need to make some decisions, rather quickly. Either I was heading a couple miles down the road to the doctor's office...or calling 911.

After showering and using mouthwash, Josh and Bek looked down my throat to see large bumps on the left side and the side of my tongue was beginning to swell. I still felt like I was breathing mostly uninhibited, so I refused suggestions to head to the hospital. I figured that if it was going to make my throat swell shut completely, it would have happened by now. I was just biding time until the Benadryl kicked in.

Another five minutes or so passed, when I finally stopped coughing and gagging so much. A few minutes after that, along with some hot lemon water, and I could tell that it was starting to subside.

Today, my throat is a little irritated, but otherwise, I'm fine. I ran today, while drinking PLAIN water, and I was just fine.

So strange. So scary. So random. I never thought my water would try to kill me. ;)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wishing My Life Away

When my oldest was a baby, there were many sleepless nights. There were days she cried...and I we learned how to do this together. I spent many days wishing for this phase to be over.

And then it was...and I'd give anything to have it back.

About seven years ago, I had a new baby, a fifteen month old, a two year old and a four year old. There were days that I never showered and nights I never slept. There was no time for me to be anything other than a breastfeeding - diaper changing - boogie wiping - tantrum calming puddle of a person. I spent many days wishing for this phase to be over.

And then it was...and I'd give anything to have it back.

I spent much of my pregnancies in a bed. My own bed. A hospital bed. All the while trying to keep my baby inside, for as long as possible, to lessen the chances of complications. I was bored, depressed and I felt like a burden to everyone around me. I spent many days wishing for this phase to be over.

And then it was...and I'd give anything to have it back.

I never left the house, without a diaper bag, for years. It was my magical bag that held anything and everything that I could possible need for one, two...five...children. I am pretty sure there were enough Cheerios at the bottom of that thing, to count as food storage for a 72-hour kit. I spent many days wishing for this phase to be over.

And then it was...and I'd give anything to have it back...well, kinda. I do not miss diapers! ;)

Four years ago, I started school. It was the beginning of a long journey to my first degree. I was stressed out, juggling very young kids, Mom's death, a miscarriage, a premature baby, work and classes. I spent many days wishing for this phase to be over.

And then it was...and I'd give anything to have it back.

Now? Now I'm in nursing school. Just getting accepted has allowed me to feel like I have accomplished so much...until I find myself with a midnight deadline and an assignment to do, discussion to post, paper to write and 12 page packet to complete. Then I become incredibly aware of the pressures I am under. I always feel the weight of trying to do more and be better at everything I'm doing. I don't want to flop at school, I don't want to give up my time at the gym, I don't want to slack at work, I certainly don't want to fail my children... So, I spend many of my days wishing for this phase to be over.

But...then it will be...and I know that I will give anything to have it back.

I realized the other day that I need to stop wishing my life away. I need to stop waiting and hoping for something better...because what I have now IS better. It IS good enough. It IS amazing. Right now. I have five amazing children who are growing up before my very eyes and I will never get this time back with them. I have friends and family who are my own personal cheerleaders, every single day. They know I can do this (I mean, hell...I AM doing it, aren't I?). I have made amazing friends in my school program who "get" me and who without, I couldn't do this. We joke that we are each other's new dysfunctional family and in so many ways, it is true. We rely on each other much more than some of us would admit.

I don't want to miss out on this time, on today, because I was busy too wishing my life away. I will never be satisfied and happy, unless I'm  happy and satisfied with what I have right now. Wasting today, because I'm wishing on tomorrow, isn't living. I want to soak up these moments and experiences and yes, even my hard times...because I am trading minutes of my life, for every single one of them.